8. Early Medieval Argyll and Norse/Viking Argyll (AD 400 – AD 1100)

Ewan Campbell1 and Colleen Batey1

1 School of Humanities, University of Glasgow, 1 University Gardens, Room 206, Glasgow G12 8QQ

With contributions, images, feedback, critical comment and participation at workshops from: Heather James, Alan MacNiven, Steven Harrison, Stephen Driscoll, Roddy Regan, Alastair Ross, and Richard Oram.

Brief Summary

Between AD 400 – 1100, the Kingdom of Dál Riata (Argyll) was a Gaelic speaking region. It is during this period that the Vikings first arrived in Argyll, with evidence for this mostly being focused on the islands. Christianity became increasingly important. Although Argyll and Bute has some of the most important early medieval sites in Scotland (eg Iona monastery and Dunadd royal fort), some of the best examples of early Christian carved stone monuments in Europe and a number of Viking/Norse graves (eg Kiloran Bay, Islay and Luss, Loch Lomond), in archaeological terms very little is known about this period. There has been much discussion about the development of the Dál Riata, the adoption of Christianity and the type of contact between Dál Riata and its neighbours (early Irish, British and Anglo-Saxon and then later Norse) but little is known about how ordinary people lived and died during this period, the types of buildings they lived in, how they managed the land and their early churches.